I give parents a homework assignment within the first two weeks of school. I ask them to write me a letter about their expectations for their child in the coming year. I explain that it can include emotional needs, physical needs, academic areas and any information about past experiences that did or did not work well for them. I refer to the letters during conferences and return them at the end of the year. It gives me great insight to begin the year, and in most cases the parents see their goals for the year touched upon in some way.